The AsiaMalls Food on Parade activities have generated much buzz at six shopping malls across Singapore. One of the key highlights is the Cooking up a Storm competition where teams of 2 are pitted against one another at every mall. The winning team from each mall enters the grand final for a chance to win S$2,000 worth of shopping vouchers. Sounds exciting?
This weekend, we station ourselves at Tiong Bahru Plaza where six teams are ready and raring to display their culinary prowess to the crowd. Cantonese cuisine is the theme. The teams’ task is to cook the dish within an hour using S$20 worth of ingredients, of which one must be black bean sauce.
While the teams scamper off to the supermarket to purchase the ingredients, Chef Mervyn Phan demonstrates the cooking of claypot rice on stage.
He uses ingredients such as salted fish, shiitake mushrooms, chicken, dried shrimp and Chinese sausage. Pretty soon, the tempting fragrance from the rice starts wafting through the mall. The lucky ones in the audience are treated to sampling portions of the rice.
Download recipe (in PDF)
Wanna give this a go in the kitchen? Download the claypot rice recipe.
Soon, the teams are back with their ingredients and the cooking has officially started! It looks as though all but one team would be using chicken as their central ingredient.
As the competition heats up, the crowd thickens. Those that can’t get a good view on the ground floor enthusiastically head up to the second and third floors for a bird’s-eye view!
As food presentation is one of the judging criteria, Team 1 impresses with a beautiful garnish crafted from prawn shells and carefully cut vegetables.
Team 2’s dish features chicken slices and a heavy use of mushrooms. This looks like one healthful dish that moms will approve of.
Another artful plating is presented by Team 4. Their chicken wings have been arranged in circular rows, crowned with a slice of pineapple and egg, and surrounded by broccoli and tomato. A chilli dip has been thoughtfully provided in a container fashioned from red pepper!
As the only male team in the competition, can Team 5 impress the judges?
Unlike the ladies, the all-male team whips up a fish dish, which they call Fish Paradise. We observe that they spend much time making the sauce for the fish, which they explain is a very savoury concoction that teams well with rice. Apparently, the fish used is very popular among Hong Kongers.
Flanked by cucumber and tomato slices, Team 6’s rendition of black bean sauce chicken is sweet and a hit with children. The team first tried this dish in Hong Kong and decided to create their own version.
The two judges – executive head chef of Lao Beijing, Mr. Cai Gang Yang, and manager of Tiong Bahru Plaza Central Management, Ms. Koreen Koh – sample each dish. Each team also makes full use of this time to explain the process behind their dish to the judges.
Finally, we have the winners…
The all-male team wins the preliminary competition and are rewarded with SS$200 worth of shopping vouchers and a place in the grand final! No one really loses, as all the other teams win consolation prizes as well.
Don’t forget to catch the the Cooking up a Storm grand final at Liang Court on June 25, 2011 (2-5pm). At the same time, there are more activities happening this month at the six malls – Hougang Mall, Tampines 1, Tiong Bahru Plaza, Century Square, White Sands and Liang Court.